Activities of the Spafford Endowed Chair


During Dr. Marilyn Luptak and Dr. Frances Wilby’s respective terms as the Spafford Chair, with the help of a research assistant, they will conduct a community-based study, in conjunction with Salt Lake County Aging Services, that will result in evidence-based recommendations for policies and programs that will best meet the needs of baby boomers and their families throughout the state. According to the most recent estimates by AARP, each day, between 8,000 and 10,000 United States residents turn 65 years old. “This unprecedented shift in our nation’s demographics necessitates an increased volume of high-quality research in this area,” said Dr. Wilby.

During their three-year study, Dr. Luptak and Dr. Wilby hope to gain insight into post-retirement work and volunteer habits, how older adults search for services, exactly what services are needed, and how well existing community agencies are able to meet those needs. Additionally, the study will collect information on the age, gender, income level, education level, marital status, religion, working status, and ethnicity of study participants. When the project is complete, Dr. Luptak and Dr. Wilby’s program recommendations and outcome measures will be used to help Salt Lake County Area Agency on Aging and other public programs plan for the needs of Utah’s older adults and their families.

“This study has the potential to position Salt Lake County as a national leader in developing innovative aging service models,” said Dr. Hank Liese, director of doctoral studies at the College of Social Work.